cover image The Story of Z

The Story of Z

Jeanne Modesitt. Picture Book Studio Ltd, $14.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-88708-105-7

Sick and tired of being last all the time, and after receiving little support from the other letters, the letter Z marches off in a huff to start her own alphabet. Things are not the same without Z: planes oom and ig-ag across the sky, ebras kick up their heels at the oo and children pay no attention as grandparents admonish them to ip up their ippers. Meanwhile, Z is having difficulty recruiting letters from other alphabets to join her, and other symbols and shapes have only their own interests at heart. Finally a sensitive street sweeper plucks the forlorn Z from a pile of leaves and manages to convince her to resume her unique contribution to the world. This existential romp through the world of letters is oddly intriguing despite occasionally cumbersome phraseology. The long, complicated text sometimes places an uneasy distance between reader and story , a failing largely overcome by the spare and beautiful watercolors rendered in suitably otherworldly hues. Shapes that are at once different and familiar are balanced against a barren landscape with a captivating degree of tension. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)